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KCBX News Update: Santa Barbara County Redistricting Commission chooses final map, and Paul and Ruben Flores appear in court via Zoom

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Santa Barbara County Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission
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The Santa Barbara County Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission chose this map on Saturday.

Santa Barbara County Redistricting Commission chooses final map

After meeting for more than nine hours, the Santa Barbara County Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission chose a final map on Saturday.

The commission is formed of Santa Barbara County residents, not elected officials, who are tasked with redrawing district boundaries for the county.

The new map substantially changes the county’s five districts. Among other things, it puts Guadalupe and parts of Santa Maria in one district, where before they were split.

The commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday to formally adopt the map.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the County Administration Building’s Planning Commission Room and can also be viewed live via Zoom.

San Luis Obispo County also recently redrew its district lines, though by the Board of Supervisors and not an independent commission like Santa Barbara County.

Paul and Ruben Flores appear in court remotely for pre-trial conference

Paul and Ruben Flores — the two men accused of murdering Cal Poly student Kristin Smart and acting as an accessory to the crime, respectively — appeared in court via Zoom today for a pre-trial conference.

Both men will stand trial in the spring in connection with Smart’s 1996 disappearance.

The remote court appearance comes months after a preliminary hearing that ended in September, in which Judge Craig van Rooyen of the San Luis Obispo Superior Court decided that there was enough evidence to move the case to trial.

Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested in April 2021. Paul remains in jail while Ruben is currently out on bail.

Kristin Smart’s body was never found, but she was declared legally dead in 2002.

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Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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